You might plant an innocent little cutting, and within a few months or years it has insiduously taken over part of the garden. However, some of these plants are very attractive, so it becomes a containment issue, such as with seaside daisies, fishbone fern and in this case, English ivy. Left to its own devices up in the top tier of the back yard, it spread to such an extent that it was becoming a pest.
My circle of shame was testament to its hostile takeover, but that transformation will be revealed on New Year’s Eve. Last time it was mentioned it had become a semi-circle of shame.
The giant mountain of mulch has helped spur me on to create places in which to spread it. It’s a win-win situation, getting rid of both the pile in the driveway and creating a new look for the back yard.
A sense of order has now been restored, and will allow much easier access to pick plums.
Once the new driveway was finished in 1997, all we had to do was wait for it to set. Then we had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the garage.
It coincided with our older daughter’s tenth birthday, so we christened the garage with a child’s birthday party. Lots of advantages there: no kids in the house, the garage was empty (short-lived of course), and it wouldn’t have mattered if it rained.
The finishing touch was a new letterbox.
When you build a Grand Garage, you must design a Delightful Driveway to complement it.
Driving through various neighbourhoods, there was a driveway I admired, so I approached the owners to find out that Scoresby Paving was responsible for it. Remember William the Conqueror? This was Ernie the Concreter, whose motto may well have been: “I came, I saw, I concreted.”
We had always liked the look of brick paving, but pressed concrete is a great way to get the look of paving, without any weeds growing in between, because it is all sealed. Fifteen years later the colour is a little faded, and a few minor cracks have developed, primarily due to the drought of 2009, but it still provides an attractive and practical backdrop to the garden.
Heavily pregnant with our second child, I nevertheless managed to help spread some of the gravel for the drains and the lilydale toppings for the driveway. In fact, if I recall, that was the extent of my exercise during that period. (That’s all changed now: if I don’t exercise every day I feel dreadful.) But I digress; what a surprise!
This job helped neaten up and widen the driveway until we could eventually afford the garage and driveway replacement.
Regularly maintaining the garden is easier if you have the right tools for the job. Our driveway is bordered by seaside daisies and three conifers. The daisies spill out onto the concrete so have to be cut back regularly. The ivy that is starting to creep up over the conifer also has to be contained.
I love both my pruners. The electric hedge trimmer is good for bigger jobs, while my little hand-held rechargeable pruner is just right for more intricate chores, or fine tuning, as I need to level off the top of the conifers. There used to be four of them when I first planted them, but unfortunately one died, which is the only drawback of serial planting that I can see. Otherwise a row of similar plants is very effective.
The big scoopers are like having an extra large pair of hands to help pick up leaves or prunings. After that I either sweep or use the patio blower to finish off the task.